Vote No On Amendment 69

I voted no on Amendment 69. Although I strongly support universal health care and steps to provide better, more affordable health care to all Coloradans, Amendment 69 could further stigmatize and fragment care by jeopardizing abortion coverage for more than 500,000 women. Planned Parenthood of the Rockies says no on Amendment 69, as do NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado and Children's Hospital of Colorado.

"We believe that Amendment 69 would further stigmatize and fragment abortion care in our health care system," said Vicki Cowart, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains "While we recognize that there is a strong argument for increased access to health insurance for all, the unintended consequence of Amendment 69 is that under the structure of a totally state-funded health care system, the only way women could obtain an abortion is if they paid out of pocket. We believe universal health care means access to ALL services Coloradans needs, including safe and legal abortion."

NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado issued a statement opposing Amendment 69 because it would limit abortion access due to Colorado's funding ban on abortion in the Colorado Constitution. NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado also opposes Amendment 71 because it would make it harder to remove Amendment 69 from the Colorado Constitution.

Keep abortion safe and legal in Colorado. Vote no on Amendment 69.

Sally Barrett-Page, Boulder

Vote no on 71 to protect direct democracy


Citizen access to our last vestige of direct democracy — the statewide ballot initiative — is under attack. As organizers of recent ballot initiatives ColoradoCare, Amendment 69, and Yes for Health and Safety Over Fracking initiatives 75 and 78, we oppose Amendment 71. Amendment 71 is backed by millions of dollars from wealthy special interests, including the oil and gas industry and their apologists. Their goal is to prevent grassroots access to the statewide ballot. These same special interests targeted and harassed citizens gathering signatures for Initiatives 75 and 78 to prevent these measures from making this year's ballot. They succeeded, and now they intend to ensure that similar grassroots campaigns don't stand a chance. These special interests have amassed over $4 million to convince Coloradans to surrender their right to initiate important changes to Colorado law.

Often referred to as the "anti-initiative initiative," Amendment 71 would restrict citizen groups seeking to empower voters to change Colorado law in the public interest. If it passes, A71 would effectively deny access to the ballot to all but politicians and extremely wealthy special interest groups. By requiring that 2 percent of voters in every one of Colorado's 35 senatorial districts sign a petition in order to place an initiative on the ballot, A71 would allow any district in Colorado to veto an initiative before voters even have a chance to weigh in. Additionally, it would require a 55 percent supermajority of voters in order to adopt the proposed change to the Colorado Constitution. These Amendment 71 requirements would make it prohibitively expensive for all but the wealthiest proponents to place initiatives on the ballot.

It's notable that the Amendment 71 campaign did not even abide by the rules it attempts to impose on others, i.e. they failed to gather signatures on their ballot initiative petitions from 2 percent of every Senate district. Over 60 diverse organizations — including the Denver Republican and Democratic Parties, the Libertarian Party of Colorado and Generation Latino, the AFL-CIO and Greenpeace — are all opposed to Amendment 71. So are several members of our state house and Congress, leaders of our local governments, as well as several local papers, including the Denver Post, the Aurora Sentinel and the Greeley Tribune.

Corporate and wealthy industry front groups such as Americans for Prosperity, Protect Colorado, CRED, Vital for Colorado and Colorado Concern — funded by oil and gas companies like Anadarko Petroleum and Noble Energy Company and tycoons like the Koch brothers — are working to gain control of our democracy and undermine grassroots access from every angle imaginable. They employ sophisticated PR campaigns, direct campaign contributions to candidates, spend a fortune on paid advertising and lobbying, and intimidate journalists. They've paid for the harassment of petition gatherers of ballot initiatives they opposed and even actively work to take over local city councils in order to prevent fracking bans and moratoria (according to CRED's 2015 IOGCC presentation). Funding and promoting Amendment 71 — a ballot initiative to prevent grassroots access to future ballot initiatives — is the latest assault on our democracy. The access that money provides these wealthy elites already has a toxic effect on a true "by the people, for the people" democracy, making it increasingly difficult for the people's voices to be heard and fairly represented.

Protect our health, safety and democracy. Don't let wealthy special interests cripple Colorado's only remaining tool for direct democracy. Vote no on Amendment 71.

Tricia Olson and T.R. Reid